Road to Opening Day: #19

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Welp.

 

 

Can’t win them all, but man, try to score at least ONE RUN! Even if it is a spring training game. Runs are cool.

The Cubs play Wednesday night against the Mariners at their place. Lineup:

 

Based on all the Twitters today, Ervin Santana just signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves since Kris Medlen is probably broken again and Brandon Beachy is slowed down. So I guess I was sort of right about the way the Braves would approach these things.

Maybe sooner rather than later, the Cubs may move just down the dial to a new radio station:

The CBS-owned outlet is using all of its local stations in a synergistic bid to land the rights to the Cubs, beginning with the 2015 season, according to team and industry sources. If the team goes with WBBM, it would end its long relationship with WGN-AM 720, which dates back to 1925.

The Cubs wouldn’t comment on the situation. However a team source said, “We believe there is a very good market for Cubs rights.”

Countdown to Opening Day continues, next on our lineup

Platoons and Game Theory

SpringTraining-700x466The cool thing about baseball is that no game is the same because of the way the ball bounces or flies out of the pitcher’s hand, or any number of other crazy things.

With this season’s Cubs likely full of retreads, fourth/fifth outfielders and bench players (if they were on any other team), there’s going to be a lot of finagling to try to keep this team semi-competitive, at least until the trade deadline.  Maybe they surprise us, but it’s very likely to be another wait-and-see type of year.

There are a few obvious platoons, with the gaggle of outfielders likely to share time depending on the handedness of the opposing starter that day.  The second- or third-base platoon seems set as well, depending on who makes it and who is cut.  It’s unlikely that anyone platoons for Anthony Rizzo even though he’s had some issues against lefty-pitching in recent memory.  Ditto for Starlin Castro.  But Welington Castillo might get a few breaks against tough righties with George Kottaras backing him up.

As for game theory, it’ll be interesting to see what new manager Rick Renteria does regarding bunts, intentional walks, and defensive shifting.  My feeling is that with the Cubs unlikely to score very many runs but with a serviceable rotation and bullpen, the emphasis should be on run prevention.  Chris Bosio, the pitching coach, seems to be very good at helping his pitchers induce ground balls.  With an improving infield defense that’s set up on the right side by Gold Glove finalists Darwin Barney (until he’s traded/DFA’d/whatever’d) and Rizzo, Castro continuing to get better and any number of decent defensive options at third between Luis Valbuena and perhaps Mike Olt, ground balls should be converted into outs most of the time.  The outfield is also full of competent defenders with the exception of Junior Lake, who is still learning but has a cannon of an arm.  If the pitchers can keep the ball in the park, that would go a long way towards helping to steal some wins.

I guess we’ll wait and see.  19 days to go.

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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